The crisis in relations between Russia and the West brings to mind the methods of risk management devised during the previous confrontation. The participants in a roundtable discussion held by the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy believe that a majority of problems can be resolved using a rational approach – through consultations.
Generally speaking, there are no grounds in Russian-U.S. relations for reviving the Cold War and going to the brink of mutual assured destruction. In the presence of common threats, geopolitical interests can adversely impact bilateral relations only to a certain extent. But the current tendencies do not give hope for their speedy improvement.
Moscow's stance on the Syrian conflict reveals an ever-complicated web of alliances, armament and regional plays, widening the diplomacy gap between the United States and Russia on Middle East policy.
Russian air strikes in defense of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might be the least bad option in a conflict that offers no promising solutions.
The conflict in Ukraine poses a complex problem for Western policy-makers. Responses have included sanctions on Russia, the suspension of institutional formats for relations between the West and Russia, and a diplomatic effort resulting in the Minsk agreements.
One of the global security consequences of the current Ukrainian crisis is the visibly raising ‘nuclear fears’ in both political elites and wider public opinion among the world. There are various dimensions of such fears.
In the absence of a large number of allies, bases and airfields in various parts of the world, Russia’s capability for global presence and defending its national interests far from Russian borders is limited.
Observers have interpreted President Vladimir Putin's recent decision to lift the ban on shipping Russia's S-300 air defense systems to Iran as a sign that the Kremlin intends to immediately deliver those weapons.
The Ukrainian crisis in a way resembles wars of late feudalism in Europe, with private armies formed of assorted mercenaries and retired military of most diverse ethnic, ideological and social affiliations.
There are lots of intriguing elements analogous to the current conflict between the West and Russia over Crimea.
Warming ties between Russia and China are reviving the arms trade between the two countries.
New defense technologies often create the illusion of a possibility of “victorious” wars, which provokes ever new conflicts and wars. The number and scale of conflicts in the world will hardly decrease in the coming years, while the arms race will serve primarily the needs of the development of new areas and the goal of expanding the resource base for production.
It seems that all external players are aware that the upcoming peace conference on Syria will serve as a turning point. If a shift occurs in favor of a compromise between the warring parties, it will be a truly historic event, given the long-standing impasse.
The role of nuclear deterrence in the great powers’ efforts to ensure their security will continue to decline, despite Russia’s current attempts to assign a more significant role to it and notwithstanding the present deadlock in nuclear disarmament.
The “anti-Western” arms markets are closing down one after another as a result of international embargoes or political reorientation of respective countries. So Russia will predictably lose its positions in favor of Europe (above all, France) and Israel, while remaining a key player on the market.
Russia has embarked on a military buildup path. The external military threat is record low. But this policy will be continued in this or other form.
Today, at a time when deep U.S. defense budget cuts are underway, supporters of continued U.S. missile defense development should consider the potential for cutting costs that cooperation with Russia could offer.
Whatever happens, responsible citizens must ensure that the country continue existing in any era and even in a world where things do not go better. Sad as it may seem, today nuclear weapons are the only possible and attainable attribute of the status of a great world power for Russia – even if one would like very much to believe that it is not so.
The success of the 2010 NPT Review Conference is a step forward towards strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. Although it is a modest step, it is nonetheless significant, as it has reaffirmed the vitality and viability of the NPT.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
Contemporary international relations are experiencing a period of turbulence and transition from a unipolar world to a world with multiple centers of power with strengthened role of regionalization. In these circumstances relatively small states try to maximize the resource of geopolitical identity to conduct their foreign policies.
In the old days coal miners took a caged canary down into mines. If the canary suddenly dropped dead, that meant that the deadly gas, carbon monoxide, was slowly seeping into the shaft... An order of magnitude increase in killing rampages in America over the last several decades is like canaries suddenly starting to drop dead all around us. It is an early indicator of much worse troubles to come.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.